Thomas Hughes

Nasdaq Ventures into Bitcoin Futures

The second largest stock exchange in the world, with a market cap of $10 trillion, is getting closer to launch Bitcoin futures during the first half of 2019
Nasdaq Ventures into Bitcoin Futures

The second largest stock exchange in the world, with a market cap of $10 trillion, is getting closer to launch Bitcoin futures during the first half of 2019.

Joseph Christinat, the vice-president of Nasdaq’s media team, spoke with UK media outlet Express, stating that

“Bitcoin Futures will be listed, and it should launch in the first half of next year – we’re just waiting for the go-ahead from the CFTC but there’s been enough work put into this to make that academic.”

He also added, “We’ve seen plenty of speculation and rumours about what we might be doing, but no one has thought to come to us and ask if we can confirm it, so, here you go – we’re doing this, and it’s happening.”

Chart Analysis - BTC/USD

Chart Analysis - BTC/USD

After attempting to break the $4,500 barrier, Bitcoin has resumed its bearish action, losing over 5% during the last 7 days and 2.50% in the last 24 hours. It is now capped by a bearish trend line and headed towards the support at $3,700.

Currently, the pair is trading very close to the key handle at $4,000, and the way it behaves here will determine the next short-to-medium term direction. A strong move above the level will probably break the trend line, and this will open the door for a recovery into $4,500, which will also create a more significant higher low, making way for further upside. On the other hand, a bounce lower from $4,000 will likely make $3,700 the next short-term destination.

Support zone: 3700

Resistance zone: bearish trend line (as diagonal resistance) and the upper Bollinger Band (as dynamic resistance); 4500 in the longer term

Most likely scenario: break of the bearish trend line and move into upper BB

Alternative scenario: choppy action with a bearish bias.

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Darryn Pollock

Cryptocurrency Volatility an Issue to Be Solved By Stablecoins?

Volatility in cryptocurrency may be a trader's best friend, but it is not aiding the adoption of cryptocurrencies, so maybe stablecoins can?
Cryptocurrency Volatility an Issue to Be Solved By Stablecoins?
Contents

Volatility has always been an integral, but controversial part of the cryptocurrency space. The way in which coins like Bitcoin have skyrocketed has brought much interest and intrigue from investors, as well as a lot of money, and thus a big price spike.

However, with those highs, there have also been some crushing lows, as Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrency market sits in a rather large lull currently. Volatility is indeed the necessary evil that managed to get cryptocurrencies into the mainstream, but perhaps now, they need some stability to take the next step.

Investment over cash

The duality of cryptocurrencies means they can be used both as a form of investment, or as a usable digital currency, and many feel the latter is the path that this revolutionary technology should be taking.

However, that would need a change in volatility as it is that very aspect that is making things like Bitcoin a form of digital gold rather than digital currency. The fact that there is a chance the value of this digital asset can spike 10 or 20 percent in a day means it is too valuable to use on a day to day basis.

There are alternatives that are not intended to be used as a store of value, such as RippleBitcoin Cash and Litecoin, but that does not mean that these assets are devoid of volatility. In fact, they may not be challenging Bitcoin as they are too volatile to be digital cash, and not intended to be a store of value either.

The introduction of stablecoins

This predicament has led to some companies starting up what are known as stablecoin, digital currencies pegged to other assets, such as the US dollar. The most well-known, and controversial, of these stablecoins is Hong Kong-based Tether.

Tether has, reportedly, swapped about $2.7 bln worth of fiat currency into its eponymous digital tokens, but the controversy comes in because there has been no strong and independent audit on these tokens.

However, it has sparked interest in this as an opportunity to take digital currencies to the next level.

For example, crypto finance company Circle is launching a new token called USD Coin.

"Imagine a US dollar coin that you can make payments with, use on crypto networks, or use in smart contracts to pay dividends, but which you can convert back to fiat currency at any time," explains Circle chief executive Jeremy Allaire.

Blockchain adoption

The idea of stablecoins does make sense in terms of turning a well-known asset into a digital token that can take advantage of Blockchain technology- such as anonymity, and easy cross-border payments.

However, it will require some more time and effort to perfect and grow into a viable alternative for digitalized money, such as sent via PayPal and bank transfers. But the decentralized nature of such an asset, with its less stringent controls, is certainly appealing.

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With the Cryptocurrency Frenzy Over, Blockchain Experts Focus on Expanding the Technology in 2019

The downturn in the financial side of cryptocurrencies has given a lot of breathing room to expand and grow the underlying blockchain technology
With the Cryptocurrency Frenzy Over, Blockchain Experts Focus on Expanding the Technology in 2019
Contents

There is no doubt 2018 has been a rough time for those involved in cryptocurrency, and even those trying to utilise blockchain to disrupt certain sectors as a new technology. The market has gone from massive highs in late 2017 to gut-wrenching lows a year later.

However, there is a clear divide in the space as blockchain and cryptocurrencies, so interlinked, are also operating on different paths. The cryptocurrency sphere has permeated the financial markets and become part of the mainstream, but this has led to damaging speculation taking it up, and then down.

However, the underlying technology itself has managed to keep progressing in the background of the hype of cryptocurrencies. But, now that they hype has died down, some breathing room has developed for blockchain companies to focus on expanding the usefulness and application of the technology, devoid of the financial demands of the associated tokens.

A number of blockchain company leaders have come forward and predicted how they see 2019 playing out across the cryptocurrency and blockchain space, and for a lot of them, there is a clear focus on strengthening and bettering the application of blockchain before pushing for the value of the token.

The expansion of blockchain

2019, as predicted by a number of blockchain companies, will be about pushing the boundaries of adoption of the technology, as well as how blockchain can integrate with other technologies to improve itself, and push for a fourth industrial revolution.

Brent Jaciow, Head of Blockchain Affairs at Utopia Music, explains:

“Throughout 2019, we will continue to see an increased use of AI and machine learning to improve customer experiences, whether it is the use of enhanced chatbots to facilitate quicker client assistance, or the use of imaging recognition software to provide hyper-targeted marketing based on age, sex, and even temperament.”

Robertas Visinskis, Founder of Mysterium Network, also commented:  

“As 2018 draws to a close, a highlight for blockchain is how the wider space succeeded in differentiating itself from strictly being associated with cryptocurrency. In 2019, we will see privacy and personal data protection trends continuing to grow in importance.”

He also went on to address how the cryptocurrency market needs to change in order to bring back investors.

“Traditional investors have watched as the bear market took hold of the crypto space in 2018. A more stable crypto market, regulators creating infrastructures within different jurisdictions, as well as emphasizing the importance of cybersecurity could see more traditional investors moving into the blockchain space in 2019.”

“For companies that utilize blockchain heading into the next year, especially if a bear market continues, product-driven companies will have more stability to withstand the turbulence over hype-driven companies.”

Nydia Zhang, Chairman and Co-founder of Social Alpha Foundation, a not-for-profit grant making platform focusing on social impact initiatives and projects, believes 2019 will see big institutions using blockchain for good, not profit.

"2019 will be the year blockchain hits the big time with organisations like the UN, World Bank, and major global philanthropies taking major stakes in using blockchain technology to anchor their initiatives. The price crash in crypto has created a window of focus on the underlying technology that will drive opportunity for billions of unbanked and excluded lives,” Zhang said.

“Expect to see projects ranging from supply chain, identity, transparency, and governance rolling out of the world’s biggest aid organisations, proving the true value of blockchain.”

“While a crypto market rebound may not return us to previous highs, we should see record blockchain adoption from the world’s biggest banks, internet companies and even smaller governments.”

Need to better the space

The indication from those involved in the blockchain space is that there really needs to be a stronger and more pronounced focus on shoring up the cryptocurrency market to make it less of a “wild west”, but also a strengthening of the blockchain technology and how it can offer real value to traditional companies and institutions. Vinny Lingham, the CEO of Civic, told Forbes that Blockchain is only going to be important when it actively adds value, not just potentially or hypothetically.

“A lot of the speculators are getting their hands burnt,” Lingham said. “I have been on about how we need to have real use cases, driving adoption of blockchain. You can't have a situation where it is just purely speculative and about future value."

“People don’t care about Blockchain, per se. I mean who cares?,” Lingham added. “It is more about what can it do, what is its utility? I think we need baby steps, for now, let's get people comfortable with the technology and what it can do, and why it is better.”

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Bitstamp Review: Cryptocurrency Exchange For All Types Of Traders

Trading Guide
Bitstamp is a very tough player of the crypto exchange industry, offering many features to its clients
Bitstamp Review: Cryptocurrency Exchange For All Types Of Traders
Contents

trading platform

Hello, mates. I know that many of you are looking for a trading place where you can buy and sell both cryptos and fiat money. This review is related to Bitstamp cryptocurrency exchange. Here I will cover such points as registration procedure (including personal verification), trading features, conditions (including fees) and some other important aspects.

Before I start describing the main features of this trading platform, I would like to familiarize you with the company itself. Bitstamp is one of the oldest cryptocurrency marketplaces in the world. The company began its activity in 2011 in the UK. However, later they have opened other offices in Luxemburg and New York. Crypto exchange Bitstamp received its license in Luxemburg.

This marketplace is widely known within the cryptocurrency community and I would tell that this is true as you hardly can find a trader who heard nothing about it. Moreover, several famous and popular tabloids like Forbes, Coindesk, Reuters have mentioned Bitstamp in their articles. The company has established cooperation with Ripple, CACEIS and Swissquote.

This crypto exchange trading place offers English only. There are no other language options at all. However, it gathers traders from all over the world.

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How to create an account with Bitstamp

Before you start trading with this exchange, you need to create your account. There are no difficulties to do it, as the form is very easy. You need to fill in your name, email address and accept terms of use and Bitstamp Privacy Policy.

 account with Bitstamp

Above you can find the form that I have already filled in. After pressing on “Register” you will proceed to the second step. You will be sent an email with a confirmation link in order to end account creation procedure.

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Once you have created your account, you can proceed with its verification. Here I want to make a reservation. I think it is not a secret that there are trading platforms with no obligatory verification procedure, meaning without confirming your identity, you will be able to trade but with some limitations.

Bitstamp requires verification from all service users without any exception. Moreover, you will not be able to proceed to deposit and withdrawal step before you confirm your identity. This requirement is obligatory because the platform has a license.

Now I am going to stop on details of the verification procedure. After you have created your account, you can login and navigate to “Verify account.”

I can say that this procedure is a bit harder than creating an account as you have not only to provide your personal data, but also to provide exchange with your ID documents scans. What kind of personal information is required?

You need to provide Bitstamp with data, indicated in your ID. Additionally, you need to upload the following documents:

  1. ID photo.

  2. Proof of residence document photo (this can be your bank statement, utility bill or taxes certificate, for example).

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How to deposit and withdraw money

Bitstamp offers the opportunity for all its clients to deposit and withdraw in both fiat currencies and cryptos. You can use, for example, VISA or MasterCard as well as SEPA (European Bank). As for cryptocurrencies, you are allowed to deposit and withdraw with Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ripple, Ethereum and others.

How to place your first order with Bitstamp, order types, trading tools

When you have already created your account and verified it, deposited some amount, you can start trading. Here, I want to make a couple of points for you to pay attention to. Bitstamp offers a high-quality trading platform with several features including professional charts and some other important.

The first thing that I have noticed when I have entered the platform for the first time was the number of currency pairs, which is lower as compared to the most of competitors. The number of pairs is slightly above 10.

order typesNow let’s get down to the trading platform. This is a very important aspect for every trader as charts allow users not only to see the current price but also to analyze it using historical data. Bitstamp offers modern full functional chart with several trading tools.

Take a look at the screenshot. You can see there candlestick chart. In the upper part of the chart, you can choose indicators and different graphic tools. As for indicators, there are many useful algorithms including the most popular Bollinger Bands, ADX, ATR and the others. Graphic tools are represented by different types of lines and other geometric patterns. Here you can find Fibonacci retracement as well.

Before you open any trade you need to choose a trading pair. This option is also available in the upper side of the platform. The next step is to choose the order type. Here I want you to pay attention to the different types of trades that are available with Bitstamp: they are the following:

  1. Instant order. The easiest one that is recommended by the exchange to beginner traders. Here you buy or sell cryptocurrency at the current market price.

  2. Market order. Is it a kind of instant order, but you can buy or sell cryptocurrencies at best prices. This order is suitable for those who have some trading skills already and want to improve their entry points.

  3. Limit order allows traders and investors to choose the price at which they will buy or sell cryptos. This one is suitable for professionals and skilled market players. The main idea of this order is to set a price at a desirable level and wait for the crypto to reach it.

  4. Stop order. This kind of trade allows users to limit their losses in case if the price goes in the opposite direction.

Once you have chosen your pair and order type, you can input the amount you want to sell or to buy and start trading. As far as you can see, there is nothing difficult here.

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Bitstamp fees

Almost all cryptocurrency exchanges take their fees not only for trading but also for deposit and withdrawal procedures. Trading fees at Bitstamp are diversified meaning the more you trade, the less you pay. This is a fair approach, I think as exchange earns more when you have higher month trading volumes.

As for deposit and withdrawal fees, they are taken by the company but they do not come directly to the company’s pocket as this money goes to payment systems.

The highest trading commission rate is 0.25 percent. It is taken from all those who’s monthly trading volume is below $20,000.

Security and support service

I have a good news for you. Bitstamp requires two-factor authentication since June 2018. This is a mandatory procedure, which increases the security level of your own trading account. You can use both Google Autenticator or Duo Mobile services.

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Moreover, you can switch on notifications about all the important events that take place in your trading account. Those messages will be transferred directly to your email address. This allows users to get updates on all the important events and take measures in case of any suspicious acts.

As for the support service, some users say that sometimes it takes time to receive any answer from the team. The speed of reaction is slow, but to tell the truth, I think that this is due to the inflow of investors. Bitstamp is one of many exchanges having such problems and I hope they are going to solve them in the future.

Pros and cons

This is my most preferable part of any crypto exchange review. Here I’m going to underline those pros and cons I think the most important of the company. I’m going to start with advantages. Here they are:

  1. Great working experience. Bitstamp operates since 2011. The team does not hide their members, which is a positive aspect as they are trusted by the crypto community.

  2. Bitstamp has its license and operates according to legislation. Users may be sure that their money is safe and they will not be scammed by the administration.

  3. Liquidity. This exchange has high liquidity as there are serious daily trading volumes. This means that the currency pairs are less volatile and you can use all types of orders.

  4. Several payment methods allowed. Bitstamp offers not only cryptocurrencies but also fiat money. You can deposit USD and EUR as well as withdraw them from your trading account. Credit and debit cards such as MasterCard or VISA are also available.

  5. Friendly user interface. I heard no complaints about Bitstamp’s interface from users and I found no negative testimonials about it.

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And now I’m going to share with you my negative thoughts about the exchange. They are not numerous, but I think it will be interesting for you:

  1. Verification requirements. This is not the big problem, but I think there are those who want to stay anonymous in crypto industry. Bitstamp does not allow to stay in shadow as every user has to do the verification procedure before getting access to trading.

  2. A small number of cryptocurrency pairs. It is true. You will not find any altcoins from above the top 20. However, Bitstamp offers in its turn the possibility to work with hybrid pairs including USD and other fiats. The exchange can be used as your pass into the world of altcoins as you may buy BTC or ETH here and then transfer those cryptos to other exchanges with a wider range of pairs, which do not support fiat money.

  3. Lack of localization. The website is in English only. Other languages are unavailable. I’m far from thinking that the international language is not enough for such a trading platform, but for some traders, it may be a real problem to work with the exchange.

Bitstamp overview

Before making the full stop, I would like to make a brief overview of this crypto exchange. I’m not going to give any recommendations as it is up to you to decide whether to place your investments there or to find some other trading platforms. However, I want you to pay attention to some interesting moments.

Bitstamp operates since 2011 and there were no significant security issues. This is the first thing that I have paid attention to. Bitstamp offers great opportunities for all those traders who want to use technical analysis in their trading routine as there is a large number of indicators and other important tools available.

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RBI’s Crypto Ban Upheld Leaving Indians to Ponder Future of Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency businesses took a hit when the Indian courts decided to uphold the RBI’s ban on crypto-dealings, so where does this leave India?
RBI’s Crypto Ban Upheld Leaving Indians to Ponder Future of Cryptocurrency
Contents

The news out of India recently was disconcerting for many in the cryptocurrency industry as the application to the Supreme Court to try and halt a circular put out by the Reserve Bank of India failed.

The Court refused to stay the RBI’s decision to essentially blockade all businesses operating with around cryptocurrencies. This means that the deadline for ending business with cryptocurrency will elapse, on July 5.

It means rough roads ahead for the cryptocurrency industry in India, which was burgeoning, however, there is still some sort of light at the end of the tunnel as reports suggest the RBI is looking at creating its own cryptocurrency.

Working around it

Indian businesses that operate in the country are now in a real quandary as there are no technical regulations stopping the use of cryptocurrencies, rather the Reserve Banks has decided to make their operating much, much harder.

Already, in anticipation of the outcome of the court hearing, some exchanges had changed their tact in order to remain compliant with the RBI’s memo. Exchanges starter operating as an escrow account in a peer-to-peer trading platform, rather than the normal exchange business model.

Wasted potential

The upholding of the RBI’s decision will have a major role to play in blunting the India cryptocurrency space as it was already seen that when the pressure began, companies already started to fold.

Back in March, two Indian cryptocurrency exchanges shut their doors citing regulatory fears for the reason. It is now up to those who remain to either keep fighting or to crumble under the heavy pressure.

The move has been roundly criticised by not only the Indian cryptocurrency community but by as influential figures as Tim Draper. It will be interesting to thus see how the next few months pans out for India, especially for those who were working and using the space, including a majority of women.

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Past ICO Review: Filecoin the True King of the Crypto Hill

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While Filecoin raised the most out of any ICO to date, its technology is not novel and it will face competition
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...And that hill is the pile of cash it sits on valued at $257 mln raised in its ICO which ran from Aug. 10, 2017 to Sept. 7th, 2017. It had a funding goal of $40 mln and its initial token price was $5. The token has done well, doubling to $10.67 which is an ROI of 113 percent if you got in for a five spot.

Decentralized storage

Blockchain is all about decentralization, it is about keeping what is yours, yours, by breaking it apart and giving it to various strangers around the world to hold onto. This sorta sounds like and Indiana Jones’ adventure.

By decentralizing, you are keeping your data safer than if it were all stored in one central location. If the hackers breach security at Google, then your drive contents are going to be compromised.

If you cut your data up and disperse it, it will be a lot safer.

However, that comes with its own downside, if you lose your encryption keys or passwords, your bits of data are going to be lost forever, untraceable and unclaimable. While it is not a new idea, Filecoin has won over investors with well-planned marketing strategies, which are ever so important in the 2018 ICO sphere.

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Filecoin is a project that was started by Protocol Labs, which has a mission to develop tools for the Internet.

Their belief is that the Internet is humankind’s most important invention and their intention is to develop advanced tools to develop and assist society.

There are 15 core members of the team, too many to list here, and more than double the number of contributors working with Protocol Labs.

Note that not all these individuals work on FileCoin. Filecoin is only one of four other projects the company is currently developing.

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IPFS as opposed to HTTPS

Perhaps you have not heard of Interplanetary File System (IPFS), which is a developing technology to replace the current Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. Here is a quick lesson on what IPFS does when you add a file:

  • Each file and all of the blocks within it are given a unique fingerprint called a cryptographic hash.

  • IPFS removes duplicates across the network and tracks version history for every file.

  • Each network node stores only content it is interested in, and some indexing information that helps figure out who is storing what.

  • When looking up files, you're asking the network to find nodes storing the content behind a unique hash.

  • Every file can be found by human-readable names using a decentralized naming system called IPNS.

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Enter the Gladiators

While Filecoin is pretty neat, raised a ton of money, and has a great team behind it, it is entering a market with many competitors.

Filecoin is not a one-and-done solution, if someone can do the same work for a cheaper price, then well you know the story; they are going to go for the cheaper price.

It looks like 2018 and beyond will start to see the successful ICOs battle it out for market control in the new emerging blockchain economy. The second half of 2018 and well into 2019 and beyond will see a rise in competition among the providers of similar services.

It will be an interesting time to observe how these companies compete and how it affects token prices.

Furthermore, and what is most important is that these companies first get the products or services on the market before we can start to see the business plan in action and if this token-based model can compete with the companies on wall street.

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